Tuesday, April 24, 2018

New Camera Lens, 150-600mm

Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD
On tripod on my terrace, but can be hand-held which is reason for choice.
Got on sale at B&H Photo, NY, NY, shipped here through Aeropost Miami.
Atenas, Costa Rica

An Anole showing his colors on my terrace - Shot at 400mm
Atenas, Costa Rica

Red Ginger  at other end of my garden at 600mm focal length
Atenas, Costa Rica

Heliconia, shot at 600mm
Atenas, Costa Rica

Air Plant on powerline cable on road below my house, shot at 600mm
Atenas, Costa Rica

Tibouchina or Princess Flower zoomed in from behind at 600mm
Atenas, Costa Rica

Torch Ginger down the hill in my yard, shot at 552mm
Atenas, Costa Rica

I went to Alajuela this morning by bus to pick up the package with my new lens meaning it is early afternoon when I tried it out with above shots and only one bird this time of day and he was in shadows. But this will really help me in a lot of places I go birding because it is the only lens available at 600mm that can be used hand-held. I first saw one in use at Danta Corcovado that another visitor was using on a Canon camera similar to mine. I then did research online and found that it really works hand-held and has the equivalent of Canon Image Stabilizer called VC. And the cost is less than a third of Canon or other big brand 600mm telephoto lenses! It sells most places for around a thousand dollars while the others are 3 to 6 thousand dollars! The guy at Danta Corcovado paid $1,100 for his. I got mine on a sale for $779, but shipping and import taxes used up the other $300! But still a good deal and we will see if it really helps me on my coming trip to Arenal Observatory. The potential problem I am concerned about is that with more focal length you need more light and it the forest much is in the shadows. So Arenal will be a test!  If I really like it, I will get another camera body dedicated to it. That way I can easily switch back and forth with my faithful 300mm which has served me so well for so many years.

And you might remember that my Nashville friends gave me a "spotting scope" which is the birders' name for a telescope. The box said you could use it on your camera as a lens, well, not on my camera! The scope is so old that they were talking about a specific kind of old film cameras. And it is not telephoto! (Unheard of today.) I looked it up and that model hasn't been made in more than 25 years, is out of warranty, no parts available for it and no service. I can make it fit on my tripod to look at the single focal distance and might learn to photograph through it with my cell phone camera, though first efforts were not very good. It is something I will play with on my terrace but not take on trips. It is not the quality of spotting scopes that the guides here in Costa Rica use and I get to use theirs when on trips!  :-)  I started to kid Larry that he must have found that scope in his Grandfather's closet.  :-)  But I will use it some around here, just not as much as I originally thought.

Well, I jumped the gun when I said that the Nashville visitors had brought the rainy season early since after that we had a week or more of no rain, Now it has started again, almost every afternoon and right now we are getting a "downpour." Of course weather everywhere is impossible to forecast accurately, but we seem to be beginning our rainy season now for sure and still early! It is not May yet, when rainy season officially begins! At Arenal the first week of May I will expect rain every afternoon, but in the cloud forest it could be other times of the day too. Another adventure! :-)

And by the way, I finished the photo gallery 2018 Oxcart ParadeIt was very good this year and many of my photos are different than in the previous 3 years. 

And because "haste makes waste" I left out three very important folders of photos on the mission trip from Nashville to Atenas, so check out the completed gallery:

¡Pura Vida!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Oxcart Parade 2018 Atenas

Rural Families is always the focus of Atenas' Annual Oxcart Parade, last Weekend of April.
 Atenas, Costa Rica

Here a teen is the "Boyero" (Oxen Master) with sis in cart and Mom & Dad Walking behind
Atenas, Costa Rica

One of the many colorful Oxcart Wheels
Oxcart Parade, Atenas, Costa Rica

A few Oxen are entered into the contest without carts, some by older children or teens
I guess it is like FFA in the States or other programs to help budding farmers.
Atenas, Costa Rica

Last year our local University provided Latin Dancers - This year a team of ropers!
Oxcart Parade, Atenas, Costa Rica

The university campus on the edge of Atenas is one of the many UTN (Universidad Técnica Nacional), this one focusing on farming with students coming from all over Latin America as possibly the best agricultural school in Latin America or at least the best in Central America. They are good about participating in major local events like this - good neighbors! Good citizens! We like our student farmers at UTN!

Though I've seen them before, I always enjoy! They're good!
Oxcart Parade, Atenas, Costa Rica

PEOPLE! You will have to go to my online gallery to see my interesting people shots.
And there are always some very interesting and colorful people! 
Oxcart Parade, Atenas, Costa Rica

I know that I still post too many photos for a blog, but I have so many more interesting photos I want to share, thus it has to be on the photo gallery: 2018 Oxcart ParadeI'm working on it now and will try to finish today or tomorrow. Takes time!

This gallery is a part of my section called PEOPLE & FIESTAS. And of course there are other sections like BIRDS and TRIPS that pretty much document my 3 1/2 years in Costa Rica thus far and you can see them all at my SmugMug Gallery titled: Charlie Doggett's COSTA RICA.

Enjoy photos of my 
¡Pura Vida!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Jane Goodall reads about Costa Rica with ‘Guardian of Nature’

Article copied from The Tico Times online edition, April 19, 2018

Famous primatologist, anthropologist and chimpanzee specialist Jane Goodall posed this week with a copy of the book “Guardians of Nature and her Friends: Save the River,” written by Costa Rican marine biologist Jessica Sheffield Zamora and illustrated by artist Shannon McWhirter.
This is the first book in a series focused on environmental education for children; for each hardcover book sold, a softcover copy is donated to a Costa Rican public school student in a rural school as part of the Guardians of Nature environmental education program. Kids can follow the story of Lucía, a nine year-old who loves nature but doesn’t believe she’s big enough to protect it.
Stay tuned for more on Sheffield Zamora and Guardians of Nature. For more information, visit La Guardiana de la Naturaleza’s webpage.


Photo Gallery of Nashville Group at Hogar de Vida is now posted. Sorry for the delay, but I focused on the book first, then got busy! Just sorry you can't see the children's faces, but online security is important now! I like my real world in Costa Rica better than the online world!  :-)    ¡Pura Vida!

And tomorrow is Atenas' Oxcart Parade, so expect photos of that tomorrow!  :-)

Friday, April 20, 2018

A Map of My CR Travels Thus Far

Click to see a little larger and thus easier to read. It may be that only people who live here or travel in Costa Rica a lot can appreciate the broad variety of places I have visited in 3 years and this is only the big name places like National Parks. There are so many little towns and places I have visited like Zarcero, Sarchi, Pura Vida Gardens, La Paz Gardens, Zoo Ave, waterfalls, fiestas, farm tours, etc. that simply won't fit on this little map! Continuous adventure!

I am so fortunate to live in such a beautiful natural place with so much to see and photograph! I love it here! And I enjoy every moment of every day whether traveling, sitting in my garden, or waiting in some long, slow government line. ¡Pura Vida!  

I earlier listed some of the places scheduled for my visits the next few months and now I have extended the list for one trip every month through next February 2019. So if any of you guys in the states want to visit, you will have to work around my trips or join me on one of them!  :-)   I have a trip-a-month for May through February with reservations for places that will help fill in the white spaces on the above map with 4 repeats: 

It promises to be my best "bucket list" year yet here in Costa Rica and I'm doing exactly what I planned to do when I made the decision to move here in retirement for these final "golden years" of life! (The "decision process" was documented earlier on this blog, starting with my first post, June 26, 2014.) Wonderful decision! (Not fully made until September that year.) As my friend Bill Peters at LifeWay used to say: "Every day's a holiday and every week's a vacation!" (In jest about working at LifeWay) But when you retire in Costa Rica that is almost true! ☺  

Copied from a blog of an expat living in Jaco, Costa Rica.    :-)

¡Pura Vida!

Thursday, April 19, 2018


American Crocodile
"Crocodile Bridge," Tarcoles, Costa Rica

American Crocodile
"Crocodile Bridge," Tarcoles, Costa Rica

Our van with the Nashville group stopped here on the way to Jaco Beach. A regular stop for tour buses here on Ruta 34 is called Crocodile Bridge (Link to very good Animal Planet Video); the highway 34 bridge over the Tarcoles River is near the small fishing village of Tarcoles. Tourists usually walk over the bridge and look down to see the crocs sunning on the riverbanks or swimming in the river for a fish snack. (See above video link.) The nearby village has several vendors who will take you on the river in a boat to see the crocs up close and even better, for me, up to 30+ species of birds! There are of course several souvenir and food vendors at the bridge to oblige your needs!  :-)

American Crocodile on Wikipedia

Species Profile: Everglades National Park

¡Pura Vida!

Links to my float trips on the Tarcoles River (Bird Focus): 

2017 July    (1 croc pic)

2017 April   (2 good croc pics)

2015 February    (6 croc shots)

2011 April    (Cruise Ship stop, 2 croc shots) 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Variegated Squirrel

Variegated Squirrel
Hogar de Vida Campus, Atenas, Costa Rica

This is the most common squirrel all over Costa Rica, but there are two other kinds of squirrels and I have photos of all three of them. See this search of squirrels on my gallery:

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Both Bizarre and Common Insects

Hogar de Vida Campus, Atenas, Costa Rica

Common Grasshopper
Hogar de Vida Campus, Atenas, Costa Rica

To read more about Dobsonfly:  Wikipedia  in 5 languages, but not Spanish!

To read more about Grasshoppers:   Wikipedia   in 5 languages, but not Spanish!

There are 11,000 known species of grasshoppers in the world and with more than 300.000 insect species in Costa Rica there has to be a lot of different kinds of grasshoppers here! :-)

¡Pura Vida!